By Alex Ghorbani '19
As the Athletics page on the school website will tell you, “The tradition of mens sana in corpore sano—a sound mind in a sound body—is central to St. Albans School. Every student is required to take part in the athletics program, which serves to develop strengths of both body and character.” Required sports help students interact with peers whom they might not see otherwise, participate more in school culture, and try their hand at a sport they might not have otherwise pursued. However, by junior year, most boys will have already done all of these things, and there are numerous reasons why juniors might want to take a sports cut.
As any senior or current junior can tell you, the Fifth Form at St. Albans can be very stressful and the option to take a sports cut could offer a much needed boost in one’s free time. Some students with many extracurricular activities often find it hard to make time for their schoolwork in between the musical, orchestra, Model UN, and their sports commitments. The time that people spend at sports could be used as a period for schoolwork in between the rest of their activities, especially during a particularly stressful period, such as springtime with the US History paper. Juniors are already given the privilege of lunch cuts. Not everyone uses them, but they are available if needed; a junior year sports cut would function in the same way.
By junior year, most students have already decided on which sports are for them and which aren’t. Some seasons have more offerings for sports than others, and so if there are no options to suit somebody, they should be free to not choose any of them. Two years is generally enough time for people to get a feel of all their options and they can make a reasonable judgement on what they want to do. There are also guys who have found one or two sports that they want to focus on and would like a free season to train on their own or simply have a break during their offseason.
Finally, I would also propose that there be a restriction on intramurals to only juniors and seniors as a way to provide that underclassmen can make an accurate assessment about what sports, if any, are right for them before they are given the privilege of taking a cut. This restriction would increase in sports participation and decrease the amount of people in intramurals, which would be beneficial to the athletics department.